tv The Eighties CNN September 2, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
they're react as they see their national interest. >> adam, we appreciate it. do stay with us. there's much more to discuss in the coming hours as we try and piece together what exactly took place in the northeastern part of north korea. stand by with us. we will be with you shortly. i'm isha sisay. the u.s. geological survey said there was a 6.3 magnitude explosion. now, let's be clear. it's still unclear yet if this was actually a nuclear test. but south korean officials say they believe the tremor was man made. north korean state media said earlier it had a hydrogen bomb that it could be put on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
now they ran these images that you're looking at on your screen. they ran these pictures purpo purporting to show north korea leader kim jong-un expecting the device. let's go to straight to seoul south korea. bring us up to speed with the latest as you're hearing it. i know the south koreans were holding a national security council meeting. >> that's right. the meeting is still ongoing. that meeting convened about half an hour ago. we're also hearing that the south korean military has been put on a higher state of alert. there's also more surveillance taking place right now of north korea. that according to the joint chiefs of staff. they're just analyzing what took place in that northeastern corner of north korea, where we've known that nuclear tests
have taken place in the past. this one, according to the united states geological survey, a magnitude 6.3, which is, according to the earthquake scale ten times larger than the test that took place just last year in 2016 was a 5.3. now we cannot confirm that this was a nuclear test. but right now, all signs point to the fact that it was. we're waiting to hear from north koreans. also waiting to hear from the south koreans, the americans, the japanese about what their response is going to be to this. right now we know that they're analyzing the swiegs. they're trying to determine what took place. and then what their next step is going to be. but this is the second development today coming from north korea. earlier in the day, we were told -- we saw on north korean state media that the country has been able to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and put it on an
intercontinental ballistic missile. that's a major development, too. so really two major documents coming from north korea today, isha. >> that has not been verified, just as is the case with this explosion, it hasn't been confirmed it's a nuclear test. how difficult will it be to confirm, to verify either of these two issues? -- well, to verify -- >> we still have you. go ahead, ian. >> to verify these issues is going to be a task. what we've seen in the past is you have american aircraft, japanese aircraft, they fly over an area to test the air from
around that area. to get samples. and that will indicate whether it was a nuclear test. as far as this miniaturized nuclear weapon, putting it on top of an icbm, really that's for the experts to study the pictures that have been released to try to figure out, piece to together if it was, in fact, they are able to do that. if they do have those capabilities, or if it's mere propaganda that the north koreans are trying to project the image that they have this capability.
really, these are two very big significant developments coming out of north korea after a fairly tense week we saw military exercises carried out by south korea. it was designed to show case how they could cake out north korean leadership in the event of a war. and then you also had another military exercise on thursday, which involved b-1 bombers from guam, involved f-35s from japan. and f-15s from south korea. show casing their unique capabilities over the course of a ten-hour exercise. you also had another major niets south korean military exercise taking place. then you had that earthquake in the northeastern part of the country, which appears to be a nique leer test. you also have north korea saying they are able to miniaturize a
nuclear weapon and put it on top of an icbm. we also have heard that u.s. president donald trump has spoken with japanese prime minister shinzo. and they believe the next step is more isolation in north korea, which doesn't appear to have the effect. we heard all last week. the north koreans see that as a major threat. they say what they're going to do in response is galvanize their nuclear program. it has the reverse effect of what the americans and the japanese, the south koreans were hoping for of trying to curb their nuclear efforts. they say it's only going to galvanize them towards advancing that. you also have here in south korea president moon. while he is in that national security council meeting, when he was elected president.
if it was a nuclear test and we have these claims about the hydrogen bomb, how does this change our understanding of the threat posed by pyongyang. >> they are sending a message they told us all last week. to see this message with north korean media watching this -- what they claim is a miniaturized h bomb ward head being loaded on a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile and then to have just a few hours after that apparently, by all indications seems to be their sixth nuclear test happening roughly one year after their fifth nuclear test. just days after the end of the joint military drills between the united states and south korea and also that flyover with
u.s. and south korean planes over the grand peninsula, bombers, fighter jets. all of this as north korea defiantly responding and telling the united states that their position in the world in their view has changed. they put out an editorial the leading mouthpiece of the ruling worker's party of korea, just a couple of days ago saying that it's time for the united states to change its long standing position refusing to acknowledge north korea for what they are, which is now a full-fledged nuclear power. they have it written into their constitution. they have since 2013. they're going to grow their nation's nuclear program, along with trying to grow their nation's economy simultaneously. and frankly, they have accomplished doing that. north korea's economy, despite round after round of international sanctions grew by almost 4% last year according to south korean central bank estimates. and we have seen an unprecedented barrage of missile testing.
kim jong un his launched more missiles than his father did or grandfather did. and so he's really doubled down on this strategy, which is that north korea feels that long term, perhaps in the short term they are sanctioned, they are condemned. but long term, they feel that these nuclear weapons will give them the leverage that they need to come to the bargaining table with the united states, a much more powerful, much more wealthy, much more influential country and north korea has in its arsenal this weapon that the united states does not have a clear cut answer to. because any military option would be so catastrophic, especially now. it would have been catastrophic just with conventional weapons. but now with what appears to be an increasingly capable nuclear north korea, all it takes is one nuclear missile being launched, hitting somewhere in the world
and can you imagine how devastating that would be if north korea showed they have the capabili capability. they launched over japan. it shot up to an altitude far higher than the international space station. this is north korea saying now with these nuclear test, we have the warheads, we have the missiles if you don't talk to us, respect us, recognize us, despite what sanctions you throw at them, despite the international pressure, they're going to continue to grow and develop their arsenal. and it's noteworthy they said these warheads are 100% homemade, which means that all of the source materials they say they have inside north korea. so they don't need to have them imported from china or from other countries. they can get all of the materials inside their country to continue producing warheads even if the world were to cut them off economically. and look, north korea has survived very difficult economic hardship in the past. the great fam lynn of the late 1990s was a devastating time for
the country. people at that time thought the regime was going to collapse when hundreds of thousands of people were dying of starvation. yet the regime stayed firmly in control and, in fact, continued to launch missiles. now north korea is much more self-sufficient than they were. yes, they rely a lot on trade with china for the comfort, but when it comes down to the basics, they believe they could hunker down and continue to develop this, even if things got really bad. even if china were to do what the united states wants them to do which is cut off the regime economically. it's a very difficult situation for the united states, which now has to ask itself a very tough question. do they continue with a strategy that has not worked during previous u.s. administrations, which is to try to pressure north korea, to try to pressure china, or do they have a different way of thinking about this. and is it time to talk with north korea? i also need to point out. these possible reports ouft of china that a second smaller earthquake was detected that
could indicate some sort of tunnel collapse at a nuclear test site, if there was a tunnel collapse, that raises the fear in the region of radiation being spilled into the atmosphere. and right now, there are sniffer planes here in japan that will be deployed. sniffer plays, their job is to try to detect seens of raigns on seeping into the atmosphere. that would be a frightening development for people living in the mountainous regions of the north part of north korea near the border with china. the comprehensive test ban treaty organization was speaking a short time ago. they said 30 of their seismic stations worldwide picked up this north korean quake, which indicates how large of an event it was. last year's explosion was a 5.3 magnitude earthquake. this year a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. and what we should expect to hear, it could take up to 24 hour, because north korea doesn't announce these things right away. but we'll have to find out how
large they say this explosion was. if this is what they claim was an h-bomb, how big was it. north korea had said they have the capability oproduce warheads that are significantly larger than anything we've seen them test before. >> we'll let you go as you just completed your 14th trip to north korea, i've got to ask you about the propaganda value of such a test if indeed it is confirmed it was a nuclear test. talk to me about the value domestically for kim jong unf fr him to have done such a thing. >> it's huge. not only do they gain scientific knowledge from these test, but i'll give you an example. we were down at the central train station late last week. one day after the rest of the world knew that missile was launched over northern japan. for all of tuesday, north koreans went about their day with no idea this happened. and right now, it's sunday. the only day off in north korea.
and just from being in pyongyang yesterday, i can tell you. some people are at work, some people are playing volleyball with their neighborhood volleyball teams and north koreans at this moment are unaffair this has happened. they're unaware of this storm blew broouing in the outside world. but when north korea announces this, nay will have likely their major news anchor, the woman we've seen for decades announcing the major events in north korea, she will give an enthusiastic announcement claiming victory for kim jong un. they will have photos, map, they'll likely show north korea's leader in some sort of a control room overseeing the event. and they will portray this to people as a victory, as another win, another step forward, another step down the road to a better future for the north korean feel. because that's what the regime tells its people. these nuclear tests and these missile launches are going to bring them a better, more prosperous future. they don't tell them, this is
causing them to be more diplomatically isolated, that they face economic hardship because of these behavior. they say this is the path that will lead them to a stronger, better north korea. when i speak with people in the streets, including after the missile launch just last week, they said they believe it. then again, what would they say. this is a country where political dissent is not tolerated. i have never heard anybody criticize the government in three years of visiting the country. that's frankly not allowed. but i do think there are a lot of people in north korea who believe that kim jong un through this strategy, there are a lot of north koreans who believe that this is going to bring them a better future for their country down the road. because it's getting them to a level where the international b community is forced to acknowledge, respect, give legitimacy to this regime which has sought that for so many years. and been unable to attain it, but yet from the north korean viewpoint, maybe on the verge of
obtaining that now. and isha, when i watched the video of the missile being launched in north korea, and we have that video, you can probably cue it up for later show, people broke into a round of applause. >> it's seen so differently from the way the rest of the world is viewing and processing these developments out of pyongyang. we appreciate it. thank you for the great insight. do stand by for us. >> ambassador jeffrey, thank you so much for being with us. north korea could have launched their sixth nuclear test according to the usgs. the last one was 5.3. significantly larger if this was
indeed a nuclear test. your reaction? this is not only a nuclear test. if we can believe the leader of north korea, this was a thermonuclear, a hydrogen bomb. that's even more dangerous. we are come into an extraordinarily dangerous period. i disagree with your last speaker. they're not doing this to give respect to have people talk to them. we have had four administrations try to talk to them. they are trying to conquer all of korea, unite the country, and push the united states out of the western pacific. that is their goal. they are pushing a dangerous strategy. very soon they will have the capability to rain nuclear missiles down on the united states. >> just to be clear, you believe that north korea's end game here
is one of military dominance. does north korea honestly believe it could win any mind of military conflict on the bens la? -- peninsula. >> yes, i believe knot korea believes it can conquer the peninsula. it slaughtered a generation of its own young men in 1950 to 1953 to that end. we didn't think ho chi minh was serious about uniting all of vietnam. we should believe the same about this guy. >> ambassador jeffrey, with your assessment, let's keep your assessment on the table that this is what north korea is
going for. in that case, how should the trump administration respond? >> there is only one path forward. i disagree with this idea that chinese economic sanctions, if they reerlly abiding would not compel the regime to change course. where does north korea get all of its oil? from china. trade has been going on quite senatorially, despite the latest sanctions. china up to now sees north korea as another pawn in its long-term strategy to drive united states out of the western pacific. china comes to the real lags we're going into war with north kor korea, that might get china to
really put the screws on north kor korea. even threatening a war is in and of itself potentially extremely dangerous and despablizing. >> i want to update viewers. the japanese government is now saying that those tremors detected in north korea were a nuclear test. so if you're just joining us, we want to let you know, according to the japanese government, that explosion that was detected in the northeastern part of north korea. was a nuclear test. it measured 6.3 on the richter scale. when they put out the initial
statement, they said 5.2. they upgraded it to 6.3. we should watch that number. but let you read the statement that the choop nies foreign minister just gave. and it was broadcast live on japanese television. the japanese government concluded that north korea has conducted a nuclear test. that is the assessment by japan. japan says it was indeed a nuclear test. talk to me about a regional response what this means.
>> what it means is the united states very soon will be threatened by nuclear strikes by icbms fired oit of north korea with hydrogen bomb warheads. that is a total game changer. it calls into question our ability to defend, not just south korea but japan. we're talking about japanese move to nuclear of weapons itself. if we don't potentially do a tit-for-tat against north korean
facilities we could face a nuclenuk nuclear change. >> the scenario that you lay out, or that you're endorsing or suggesting is the right one in terms of a response is one that carries huge risk, especially when you're dealing with an irrational actor. in this kind of situation, dmig could trigger an allout confl t conflict. what you're saying now is take these steps as a means to deter them, to diend -- kind of cower them. but could you not just be lighting a match which leads to a huge explosion here? >> you're right. but you have a choice. you can deal with him when he cannot strike the united states or you deal with him when he can
strike the united states. the question is, what do we want to do? again, negotiations, trying to show him respect, four administrations have tried that. i worked intensively on this in the bush white house with condoleezza rice. it has gotten us nowhere. nothing has worked. >> it is indeed a massive escalation of the situation on the peninsula and in the region itself. ambassador, thanks for joining us. i'm going to go right now to andrew stevens who is in china. andrew, you heard, what is the reaction from china. is anything coming out of beijing. >> at the moment, the only thing
we have is confirmation of that explosion. the china earthquake administration saying about an hour or so ago that there had been a 6.3 event and they used the word a likely or possible explosion followed by a 5.8 event and that a tunnel collapsed. so this detonation, the first detonation coming at 0 depth. so the only thing they're saying at the moment, isha, where i am is the scene for the annual brics conference, the gathering of five countries. we're expecting the chinese president to be welcoming delegates in the next three or four hours or so. so expecting him to certainly say something about this. this is, as your guests said, a massive ratcheting up of the tensions in the korean peninsula. it comes just a month after the chinese foreign menster took the
north korean foreign minister aside at the united states to say do not make any more provocative actions. do not launch any missiles, do not detonate another nuclear device. for the sake of not provoking the international community. now, as we heard, china is the number one ally of north korea. but that which i say held for a few weeks. but in the last seven days, starting with that missile being fired over japan, north korea is clearly ignored china's wishes there. china said it will not put up with chaos. that would have a direct impact on cheen that. china shares a land border with north korea. they don't want that chaos to result in a blood of north korean refugees. this is all information we've been hearing from china repeatedly.
do you want a nuclear capable north korea? and a lot of people you speak to in china say the chinese government would prefer the latter. they would be able to live with that more easily than they would be able to live with the chaos on the border, millions of refugees and also perhaps a u.s. friendly government of the united korean peninsula right on its doorstep. this will be extremely annoying to the chinese leadership. they do not want north korea to go down this path.
china doesn't want to see the u.s. more powerful, more muscular military presence in this region either. so its lack of action, if you like, could lead to the u.s. stepping up its military presence here. so that may be a backdoor way of the u.s. putting more pressure on china to actually take some action on north korea. it's got 90% of north korea's trade. it has the power to change north korea, economically at least. >> we appreciate it. do stand by for us. i want to bring in barbara starr. she joins me now on the line. barbara, good to have you with us. the japanese government saying this was indeed a nuclear test. what can you tell us from the u.s. side of things. what are you hearing? >> so far the trump trump
administration very early here in washington sunday morning, of course, has not spoken publicly about this. the president tweeting a short time ago when he got back to the white house from the hurricane relief operations in texas about that. so he's awake, but not tweeting about this. one can only suspect he is being briefed at this hour. they do not have firm confirmation from the u.s. point of view about what happened. but look, they're saying there's every reason to believe this is a man made seismic event. that means there's an underground nuclear test by the north koreans. this really puts the president in a bit of a box about what to do next. he said he thought maybe the
north korean leader was beginning to respect the united stat states. and since then what you have seen is north korea fly a missile over japan's territory. and now this sixth apparent underground nuclear test in the last couple of hours. so the north korean regime as always by all accounts paying absolutely no attention to the efforts by the international community to get it back on its weapons program. and in fact, continuing to step it up. it was on saturday u.s. time. not confirmed by the united states. but we are at the point where
u.s. military commanders will publicly say they have to assume that north korea now has the capacity, the capability to attack the united states. they have to plan against that scenario. they don't see north korea ratcheting back. and this appears to be the case. >> you mentioned a few moments ago that north korea in some sense has boxed in the president. is there a preferred option on the part of the pentagon in terms of how to respond to north korea? >> it's a fascinating question. the president potentially making foreign policy by twitter had said just a day or so ago that
talking was not something that was working out. but diplomacy is talking and that's something tillerson and jim matities have publicly time and time again have said that's the way to go. they want diplomacy. defense secretary matiti itimat last week, he does not believe the u.s. has run out of diplomatic options. military options for north korea remane hugely, hugely problematic for the simple reason that the calculation has always been that the u.s. were
to attack north korea, north korea would retaliate with a counterattack against south korea and tens of thousands if not millions could be killed in seoul alone. the geography is not in favor of a military option. and that has brought the world back to diplomacy, talking, trying to use sanctions as a leverage. none of it, what we have seen in the last couple of hours is north korea very willing still so ratchet up yet again with this apparent nuclear test. >> we appreciate it. i know it's very early where you are on the east coast. thank you. do stand by for us. i want to bring in daniel pinkston. he joins us now. he's an expert on north korea
and he joins us now from seoul. thanks for joining us. the japanese government saying that explosion in north korea was indeed a nuclear test. the u.s. hasn't confirmed it, but that's what we're hearing from japanese officials. your thought now on this move by kim jong un. what is his calculation by launching such a test at a time when everyone is warning him to back down and to basically deescalate the situation. >> they've worked for decades. they've been cultivating the human resource, which is the ultimate training for science and engineers. they've been doing that since
the 1950s. and they work it on every day. other ind indications have shown that they were ready to conduct a nuclear test at anytime. this should not come as a surprise. we're going to have to learn to live with north korea and its nuclear arsenal. >> you say this shouldn't come as any surprise. but i do wonder if you are surprised with what kim jong un has been able to compress the time line and manage to launch all these missile test. this would be north korea's sixth. i believe they did two last year. are you surprised by the speed, the acceleration?
>> the pace of the testing schedule has been collapsed. they' been willing to conduct these tests at a much more rapid clip. this has taken some people by surprise as far as the pace. but as far as their determination and their long term goals and commitment to gaining these capables, that should not be a surprise. >> their focus on continued development of their nuclear programs, what options does the u.s. have when it comes to engaging with pyongyang and deescalating the situation? >> i heard on the program earlier, someone was saying the
leadership is not ram or irrational. i think that's not true. they wish to survive. and to maintain control, you have to be rational, calculating on a daily basis. i don't think they're willing to commit suicide. the international community has much greater resources in north korea. north korea does not have strategic depth. they don't have allies. look back at what has worked in the past and apply the same principles that we used in the cold war with the soviet union. >> we appreciate it. thanks so much.
>> the author of the book "meltdown -- the inside story of the north korean community crisis. thanks so much for be with us. the japanese government is confirming that's what caused that explosion. what in your view is kim jong un's end dpam with the sixth test. what is he trying to achieve? >> well, the north koreans have an end plan to deter the united states or anyone else from taking any countermeasures. the north koreans see nuclear capability as is most important guarantee of their survival.
this program is not new. it's been around for many years. in the early 2000s, the north koreans looked around and saw the united states invade iraq and topple the regime. i think the north korean calculation is that have been nuclear weapons is the most important factor in keeping the kim dynasty in power. >> there's in constant need to try to figure out what to do next or where they stand. at that point in time. th
that ral, trump said i think he's starting to respect us. follow that up seven days later and north korea go aheads and fires a missile that flies right over japan which, of course, is a key u.s. ally. fast forward to the third of the september. japan saying it was a nuclear test. >> first of all, i think the president was completely wrong in his assessment of north korea. i think the notion that for some reason the north koreans may have been deterred by donald trump's bluster is nonsense.
if you look at what has happened here in order to stage a very provocative missile test a few days ago, we were over japan and what you had afterwards was hang ringing. statements at the united nations security council, resolution adopted. but no new sanctions? the chinese for their part were very cautious about supporting any measures. the russians said sanctions were not the way to go. he's in domestic political trouble. inconsistent messaging from
senior administration officials. some talking tough, some talking dialogue. they see a new south korean government which have is caught in its own rhetoric. it leaves japan ham strung by a pass fist constitution. and it says china saying both sides should show restraint. he thinks nothing will happen to at alter his calculation. >> does north korea even want to be engaged in diplomatic talks? forget this issue of whether the u.s. drops preseasons and forgets this idea. does north korea want to engage
diplomatically? >> i think they're willing to talk to the united states. but what they want is dialogue between two nuclear powers on an equal footing for regional security in northeast asia. they don't want a diplomat you can engagement that would be north korea being brow beaten. i think a lot of this is calculated in the event that some kind of diplomatic contact were to resume. given the fact that sanctions have been unable to change north kor korea's behavior. given the enormous cost that
would be involved in any kind of military strike that the u.s. might initiate against north korea at the end of the day, you do come back to the fact that at some point, the best, although it's uncertain, but the best chance of trying to move this crisis back from the drink is some kind of diplomatic engagement. colonel francona, i want to pick up on that time line that i just shared that it was just on august 22nd that president trump said we have this, then we have
days later, that missile being fired over japan. then here we are talking ability a sixth nuclear test. when you look at that time line and look at what the president said, president trump underestimated kim jong un it could appear. >> many of us thought maybe they were backing down a little bit. some saw north korea saying i'm not going to exercise that test against guam because that would be too provocative. that plan was actually a military option being presented and he took the higher road. it looked like to many observers that many the north koreans were
sending a signal they were able to engage in some sort of dialog dialogue. i think many of us were wrong. we see the north koreaens are continuing this march towards that capability. if what we've seen today is all true, they have really unveiled a huge capability, a huge step forward and now they are beginning to kochbs tut a conceivable threat to north ameri america. >> when it comes to form lating a u.s. response, that will be the focus in the coming hours. i mean, what will be its principal considerations as they decide what their next move should be? >> i'm not sure if we've articulated the policy other than the same old rhetoric that we were willing to talk to the
north koreans once they disavoi them of a nuclear program. if we talk to the north koreans we have to accept that they're going to have this capability. and what what do we do about it? the days of convincing them to give up their nuclear weapons program is a thing of the past. >> to that point about accepting a nuclearized north korea, which is what it is effect i havely no uh, what does that mean to the region? what does that mean for japan and south korea? what does that mean for this question of a nuclear arms race? >> this is where u.s. policy is going to be key and u.s. leadership is going to be key. we have got to convince the japanese. without them both developing nuclear weapons capability.
what we don't need is all these countries developing independent nuclear weapons capabilities. so we have got to show some -- get involved with the north koreans and -- i'm sorry, the south koreans and the japanese and formula a regional plan where you use the american strategic nuclear umbrella to protect them. >> we're joined now by a lecturer of north korean studies. thanks for being with us. we very much appreciate it. as we try and process this use of unlikely nuclear tests, a likely sixth nuclear test by north korea, whatter your thoughts? what are your thoughts on the timing of all of this?
what are your thoughts on how much this escalates the crisis there in the region? . >> i am not surprised. i have been covering north korea since 2008, so i've been here for the last five nuclear tests. i always felt it was a matter of when this test was going to happen, not if. remember, that north korea tested a nuclear device a year ago and made clear a year ago that they were going to continue testing. so it is not entirely a surprise. now, in terms of the timing, we have given north korea plenty of reasons to rationalize a nuclear test, the joint military drills, some of the tough talk coming from president trump. this is all -- these are all reasons that north koreans can use to justify testing this nuclear device. i want to come it comes just after the nuclear drills and just before north korea has its foundation day. north korea claims it needs a
nuclear program, nuclear weapons to protect its mere existence. so what better than to have a very successful, or a successful nuclear test when they celebrate the day of the founding of north korea. that's on september 9th. again, this was a window of time last year when they tested a nuclear device. kim jong-un needs this frankly. he needs this to give his people a sense of pride and a sense that they are doing well in the face of sanctions, in the face of international isolation. he needs to show them he can defend them. i think it is simply, you know, he has laid out clearly what his objectives are, what his timeline and checklist is. he's going to get through the checklist and hopefully eventually back down and come to some sort of diplomatic discussions with south korea and the united states and the other parties in the region. >> jean, stay with me for just a moment because i just want to alert our viewers to the announcement that was just made
on state-run television there in north korea just a few moments ago. it was announced that north korea will make a major announcement at 1500 pyongyang time. if you are on the east coast of the united states it is 2:30 a.m., just under 40 minutes from now. that was the announcement made on state-run television in north korea that a major announcement will be made shortly. one would anticipate, given everything we've been discussing for essentially the last two hours, that it will be their announcement that a nuclear test was carried out. of course, we told you and have been discussing for a while now that there was that massive explosion in the northeastern part of the country. it measured 6.3 according to the usgs. japan has already come out and said that was a nuclear test. we haven't had it confirmed by
pyongyang, but now we get this word from state-run television that there will be a major announcement made shortly. we will, of course, be standing by and monitoring that for you and bringing you word from that. jean, to bring you back in and to pick up on what you were saying about the value of this test internally, for the north koreans -- ordinary north koreans who are living a very difficult life, i mean there are those who live a comfortable life if you're in the military and you are part of the ruling class, but for the ordinary people there in north korea who live in the rural areas and in pyongyang, do they think it is worth it, the deprivation and the suffering they undergo for these tests? i mean what is their sense of the value? >> frankly, the north korean people at all levels of the
social hierarchy and economic hierarchy are just doing what they can to get by. but if your leadership is telling you we may not exist unless we pour all of this money into what they call their treasured sword, these nuclear weapons that keep them in existence, you are going to accept this is something that needs to be done. this is part of their war time thinking, their wartime rhetoric, their wartime mentality. it is also the way it has been painted in north korea, it is something they're extremely proud of. i just treated a picture earlier today of a children's backpack that has satellite and rocket on it. so they are just encouraged at every age group to think of this as something that they can be proud of. it is a small country that manages to keep the world in thrall and also defend against the powerful u.s. it is something they're extremely proud of. you can be sure when they make that announcement in about 35 minutes time that it will be
something that calls for celebration, and we will see in the days ahead celebrations being carried out on the streets of pyongyang. >> jean lee joining us from seoul, south korea. we appreciate it. thank you so much. let's go to ian lee, joining us from seoul, south korea where there was a national security council meeting underway a authority time ago. ian, to the best of your knowledge is that meeting still underway or has it wrapped up? >> what we're hearing from the spokesman that that meeting is still underway, but we're hearing from the joint chief of staff saying that it is presumably was a nuclear test that took place earlier today. we also are hearing from them that south korea's military is on a heightened state of alert and they also have heightened surveillance over north korea, all trying to figure out really what took place and to get whatever information they can. we do know that japanese surveillance aircraft right now
are in the air. they're collecting any debris, anything that came from that nuclear test, or presumably nuclear test, to try to determine exactly what it was and what it contained. now, the japanese are saying that this was a nuclear test, and if so this is the largest nuclear test that north korea has carried out. so there's a lot of concern here in south korea as well as in the region about what could happen. but, also, isha, i need to point out that's one of the two big developments today. as you are seeing on the screen, as we've been seeing the pictures that have come out of north korea, these are pictures from state tv showing north korean leader kim jong-un inspecting what appears to be what they're calling a miniaturized nuclear device that can go on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile, an icbm. you know, isha, it is one thing to develop a nuclear weapon, which north korea has done.
it is another to deliver that nuclear weapon, and that's the other major announcement today, north korea saying that they can put a bomb on an intercontinental ballistic missile and strike anywhere that they want. so, you know, that's another major development that we're following today, but really right now also keeping an eye on this, what is presumably a nuclear test in the northeastern part of north korea. >> ian lee standing by for us there in seoul. thank you. we will check back in with you. i want to go to washington and bring back adam mount, the senior fellow with the center for american progress. adam, i want to ask you a question i put to our -- to our rick francona. so many names, so many conversations. i asked him, from the u.s. perspective as this administration tries to figure out what to do next, what should be their key considerations?
how do you see it? >> the key considerations now are stability, deterrence, containing and constraining the regime for the long-run. the trump administration at times has looked like it is trying to manufacture a crisis and enough pressure that north korea falls to its knees and voluntarily disarms, volunteers to eliminate its nuclear weapons. that's just not going to happen now. and so we really need to stop being a force for instability on the peninsula and start prioritizing stability. the first step is to reach out to u.s. allies, reassure them that our defense commitments are undiminished. that's something that president trump has been hesitant to do personally, but there's really no substituting for a presidential statement of this sort. just today the u.s. administration signalled its willingness to pull out of the
course fta, a free trade agreement. we're treating south korea more like a trading adversary than a strategic ally. we need to close ranks with our allies an demonstrate a united front. >> you mentioned reassuring u.s. allies. i mean what would the president have to say for them to feel better about the situation, bearing in mind the rhetoric and the sanctions hasn't brought about a change in north korean behavior? >> well, it is not an easy solution. our u.s. allies are going to be skittish no matter what they do, but they're always going to wonder whether the united states does have their back and whether it is committed to the region. the president has not helped his case in this regard. at times he's said that he would look at withdrawing from the korean peninsula, at times he has said that south korea used to be a part of china.
china earlier this spring levied economic coercion against south korea to try to get them to stop -- to withdraw the thaad missile defense system. that coercion is still ongoing. sale also of south korean calls are falling in china, and the united states has not been there for south korea. we have not insulated them from that kind of economic coercion. so all of these signals really paint a negative picture for our allies in the region. we're going to need them no matter what we do, in deterrence, in defense, in any kind of pressure. they're critical allies. >> adam mount joining us from washington. adam's with the center for american progress. we appreciate it. thank you. stand by. please stay with us. we have a lot more to discuss. >> this is cnn, breaking news. >> hello, everyone. i'm isha sesay. you are watching "ws